This guest post is by today’s teleseminar speaker, Karlyn Hixson. Find the details of her teleseminar here.
First off, I want to thank Stephanie Chandler for having me. It’s a pleasure and an honor to connect with the community at the Nonfiction Authors’ Association.
A little about BookPal – who are we, and what do we do?
BookPal is a specialty bulk retailer based in Southern California. It was started in 2005 by our President, Tony DiCostanzo, and he primarily focused on healthcare guides sold to corporations at first, before pivoting the business to what is now BookPal and realizing that so many other types of books are in demand and needed by corporations, organizations, classrooms, literacy and community programs, and libraries.
We believe in the transformative power of books and exist to empower people by helping them find the right books for their classroom or organization. It is our passion to help inspire further connection, learning and growth for people and students. Through each book sold, we see a new life touched, inspired, and poised for growth.
Outside of our core business of providing books in bulk to our clients and reporting those sales for the authors, we offer additional marketing opportunities for authors with whom we work. We love to keep our audience of corporate and educational buyers apprised of new titles and we pick 6 top monthly picks across business, education, health/ wellness, religion and politics each month – featuring them in email campaigns.
Our account management and client experience team members mention these titles to clients over the phone and in email, and offer samples for purchase consideration. We’re all about building and sustaining relationships with the clients we serve- both corporate and educational buyers, as well as with the authors, publishers, speakers bureaus, and agents with whom we work.
Placing orders with us is of great benefit to the author since BookPal is a reporting retailer. We report all sales weekly to the NYT, the ABA, and Bookscan. As an author, you can always purchase directly from your publisher at your author discount, but I do encourage people to consider having some of their network purchase through us so that the sales aren’t invisible to reporting entities such as Bookscan.
We put the utmost care in author event orders, and always make sure your books are handled with communication provided to your client to ensure they know when to expect the books. If you have questions about this – you can always reach out to me directly.
As an author, the key is to think about the different groups of people who would benefit from the content of your book, speaking, and message. From schools and universities to small and medium-sized businesses in a variety of industries looking for inspiration from leaders, for example, there is usually a larger audience than you may realize. And it is to this audience you can leverage the ability to get bulk sales and to reach a larger readership. If you are an author who also speaks – it’s a great idea at launch to waive the speaker fee in exchange for a bulk sale. Win-win for you and for them – and it gets your book into many more hands (what we’re all about at BookPal too!).
Additionally, we offer the services of our team for free – we just hope to help with event and bulk orders as opportunities arise to work together to put your book in more hands. Some of these services can include email inclusion in our monthly email campaigns. We send monthly genre picks in business, education, health/ wellness, religion and politics for example – so we keep our clients updated about new books. We also have a monthly business webinar series called AuthorConnect Chat – where we feature a new business author in a 30 min free presentation and Q&A discussion. These are recorded so listeners can access them again and again, and they provide terrific insights from the author about their latest books’ and why you should check them out and/or consider them for a speaking event. We also offer opportunities for blog posts/ author Q&A’s, and we ensure that any and all orders you place with us are taken care of and delivered on-time, every time.
We do primarily work with traditionally published books because of the discounts we’re offered by the publisher as a wholesale bookseller. We don’t charge for the marketing opportunities or the services we provide to authors/ publishers in order to add additional marketing awareness and value for the book launches and for the lifespan of their books, and we ensure a seamless customer experience for those receiving bulk orders for events, for example, so we do have a margin on the sale of bulk orders. If we’re able to match the discounts we receive from publishers for a self-published author, and also establish a few other items – like where we can order from, if we can drop-ship, payment terms, etc., then we can consider ordering directly from self-published authors and working with them to support their titles and bulk sales.
Some top tips to remember:
– Plan ahead for bulk & event orders – 4 weeks in advance is a good cushion to ensure sufficient time for transit, and no later than 2 weeks in advance to place an order if you want to have free ground shipping. If we can allow for 8-10 business days in transit, we can honor free US ground shipping on domestic orders of $100 or more.
– Think about your network – when you have a book coming out, it’s important to activate that network and let them know when your book is publishing. That way, they can help by preordering copies – both individually and via bulk sales.
– Reach out to organizational contacts you know and ask them to let their networks, newsletters, social media followers, and email lists know about your book – particularly if it is of interest or in direct connection to causes for which they advocate and support (IE: if your book is about heart disease, reach out to local chapters of the American Heart Association and see if they’d want a sample copy of your book to consider for inclusion in their newsletter).
– Does someone in your network have a great email list or website? Would they consider asking their followers to check out your book? Do you have an email list where you can offer different preorder incentives for your followers – at various levels of purchase? These are just examples but, if you purchase 100 copies, you can get access to an exclusive chapter download or PDF and if you purchase 500 copies, you can get a free 30 min coaching or webinar session with the author re: the topic.
– Holiday gifting is around the corner: do you have a holiday email list you can reach out to and let people know about your book? The holidays are a good time to remind people about things they can take action on – like preordering a copy of your book if you have an early 2020 title launching, or sending a couple copies of your book to friends and family as gifts (if the book is already out). You’d be surprised what your community and network will do for you, and email is the greatest asset you have or your friends have – it’s “sticky” and people revisit emails to take action.
– Build your followers on your email list and social media. As Stephanie has said (and she is so right!), you have to build your tribe! It’s so important as an author to be in contact with people who follow you, like what you have to say, read your books, and generally support you. These people will show up for you time and time again – and word of mouth is how books really sell in the long-term. Your email list is GOLD! Take care to build and sustain it.
As mentioned above, we offer a variety of marketing opportunities, and I’d be happy to send anyone who reaches out to me a one-sheet about the ways in which we work with authors. Just email me at Karlyn@book-pal.com. I mentioned a few of them above: our AuthorConnect Chat series, blog feature/ Author Q&A, email campaign feature, and social media shout-outs.
We choose books we think our audience of corporate and educational buyers will be most interested in and we look to prioritize features for authors with whom we work regularly in order to further support their even purchases.
You can find our website at www.book-pal.com, and you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if you’d like to be added to our email list for updates – I’d be happy to keep you posted on our monthly picks, AuthorConnect, and about general updates on our Marketing Newsletter.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit for traditional publishing. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!